What is recession?
According to Wiki definition, a recession is a decline in a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), or negative real economic growth, for two or more successive quarters of a year.

We fear recession since it could result in more than normal job cuts, financial tension and the burden of managing the needs of the family increases. With less or no employment growth the scenario looks bleak.
Although you might have Googled the best jobs to have during recession hoping to receive a comprehensive answer to this question and in all probabilities have received a lot of information already, but my advice first is to research outside and research within to find the right answer.
By “research outside”, I mean finding out the present industry strengths, researching job market trends, following the stock market and investigating on the future of some promising careers.

By “research within”, I mean delving deeper into your present expertise, your abilities and your inclination and passion towards a particular career.
Once you understand the working dynamics of these two together you can surely come up with your jobs search or career search strategy. Although, if you are already a victim of a layoff and getting a job is a priority, the career exploration phase has to wait (if financial responsibilities are pressurizing you and the first step is to land a decent job which helps you pay for your family’s health insurance as well).


Protect your Present Job
Before you venture out to look for new jobs or those that will hold on during recession it is best to try to protect your present job first. When there are few employers hiring the best bet is to stay where you are (though not entirely in your hands, but you could try to be one of those not handed the pink slips in the coming weeks or months). I have some tips on how to manage your career during recession which you might find helpful now.


Where are the Jobs – Jobs that are “Recession-Proof”

If you are searching for recession-proof jobs, then the BLS statistics of the first quarter of the year 2008 says it all:

  • Health care continued to expand in March, rising by 23,000 employees. Hospitals accounted for the majority of the job gains, growing by 14,000. Over the past 12 months, health care has added 363,000 jobs.
  • Employment in natural retargets and mining rose by 6,000 in March; the results are in line with the steady growth the industry has recorded over the past year.

Although these are the sectors where new jobs would continue to continue to grow, do not expect that it would be easy to undergo a career change during recession, however channelling your skills in new areas can be done easily with little time investment.

A complete career change demands time and more efforts towards new skill development as compared to changing jobs in your current field. If you are in a layoff and finding it hard to find jobs in your field it could be one of the best time to continue on developing your skills, either towards present career enhancement or towards a long-term career change.


What are the Present Industry Trends?

What have you observed in the papers, which companies are still advertising the jobs and what are the predicted trends? The trend could be more towards jobs in the environmental or solar sector or some new jobs which are government sponsored where money is being pumped in research and development in certain areas.

There are quite a few cities which are working towards increasing jobs in the “clean-tech” area. Read the newspaper and articles on the economy and you shall get some pointers on where the funds are being pumped in and where they are being taken away.
Find out more about those jobs that interest you the most. And if you are in a layoff and are looking for a new job then explore those jobs that are in demand at present. Recession or an economic downturn could be the right time to diversify and reorganize your skills.

There are some reports published periodically on the trade magazines, job boards and other job related websites which predict or analyze the career and jobs which will be in demand over the present year or mark a trend for the rest of the century.

For example check these out:



  • Top 25 Careers to Pursue in a Recession This article suggests the following careers that can be expected to thrive during an economic downturn:
    Health Care, Energy, Education, Utilities, International Business, Food, Pharmaceuticals among others.
  • CNN Money has a good report on Best careers to have in a recession. They have there the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of 30 occupations expected to grow fastest over the next decade, then asked compensation experts PayScale to identify the 10 white-collar jobs among them with the best combination of high pay and high security.

Getting out of the “Slumped” Job Sector
If you anticipate a layoff, the best bet is to be proactive and start planning on war footage your next moves towards either getting a new skill set to jump to another job area. For example the present housing market slump has resulted in major cut down in realtor jobs and other house financing jobs.
Perform a reality check on your skill set and either work toward developing new ones or if you are passionate on getting back to your original career and job, research on some part-time jobs which could help you to “ride-out” the recession period.

“Recession Proof “Jobs 

When it comes to a major economic downturn affecting the world, there are virtually no completely recession proof jobs as such, but of course there are some industry sectors which are close to “recession-proof” and witness growth even in a bad economy.


Website Developer and Creative Web Media Expert

Many of those in the layoffs are seeing entrepreneurship as an attractive alternative to full-time office work. And your business in the 20th century thrives on a creative web presence. If you have the skills to develop some creative interfaces and websites, there are many seeking help and expertise in web development to get their business up and running in the shortest time during a recession and this means that you could be in business in no time. All you need coupled with the technical skills are good marketing and sales skills. You are how you market yourself.


Sales and Marketing

During the tough times, businesses need to aggressively market their products and services and skilled sales and marketing people will always be in demand. Keep your portfolio up-to-date and quantify your achievements; even if you are in a layoff right now, with good records and right personal marketing you would land another job faster than others in different tech positions.



A plumber and a handyman in the US can make around $50 to $200 per hour and there is always a demand. True some people might want to do-it-themselves to save some money for the small fixes at home, but note that with more people staying home and more appliances and activities in the house, the usage and wear and tear is on the increase. Repair jobs are required and your services can be more in demand now than before. If you have the interest and some relevant skills, then it is time to train on some handyman skills.


Law Enforcement and Security Personnel

A major downside of tough economic times is increase in crimes and security breaches. Look up your local government and other private offices job requirements and you might see the “open” jobs in law enforcement or need for police officers staying on the list. Get trained soon, if you have an aptitude for such jobs. A relevant degree is also a huge advantage to have when seeking a job in the law enforcement field. Thankfully, it might not be such a daunting task to obtain a degree like a Master of Criminal Justice, especially if you decide to pursue this degree online. Furthermore, a Master of Criminal Justice can be the first step toward a rewarding career as a police officer or even an FBI agent. Best of all, the online medium lets you balance your education with your current job, so you don’t need to make any drastic changes to your life while achieving this goal.


Energy Industry

Of course, you will say. Are not all major funds being directed towards renewable energy industries and towards clean tech? Sure enough, follow the trends see where the money is and you can have that recession-proof job till the next recession at least.

For example; according to a California government press release:
California is projected to need tens of thousands of additional workers to fulfill current and future green occupations in various industries. Green jobs can be found across all industry sectors, but frequently exist in eco-friendly industries like those generating or storing renewable energy (solar, wind and water); dealing with recycling existing materials (recycling processers, wastewater plant and environmental cleanup); and dealing with energy efficient products (weatherization, solar panels and dual pained windows).

Launched in early March, the initial phase of the Governor’s California Green Jobs Corps will place at least 1,000 at-risk youth ages 16 through 24 into green jobs over the next 20 months. Investing at least $10 million in Recovery Act funding and $10 million from public-private partnerships.
Green Jobs Corps recruits will train for technical, construction and other skilled jobs, complete community service while training and receive job placement assistance.

Recessions are Temporary

G. Michael Maddock in an article in Business Week says:
Recessions by definition are temporary. Great companies and great executives don’t abandon their growth strategies in light of temporary setbacks. They attack aggressively, while everyone else is pulling back.

Do not overreact; it is best to be prepared but did you know that the 2001 recession was over in around eight months (but note again that the jobs were not coming back that easily even after a year). Perhaps it is good (!) to go through such cycles to help us be prudent about our spending and proactive towards our careers.

What I have above are just some suggestions from a career expert, but as always you are the best judge for your own good.

Be inspired by Ayn Rand here:

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.”
~ Ayn Rand